UN cultural chief calls for steps towards restoring damaged Italian landmark

9 April 2008

Following a fire at the famed Castello di Moncalieri, in the Italian Province of Turin, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called for an urgent assessment of the damage with a view to restoring the ancient royal castle, which has been inscribed on the agency’s World Heritage List since 1997.

A fire broke out on 5 April causing severe damage to the royal apartments and to several floors in one of the watchtowers of the building, a former residence of the House of Savoy.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of an important part of this royal residence,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said.

“It is, however, a relief that the fire brigades were able to prevent even greater destruction,” he added.

Built in 1100 and extended over several centuries, the Castello di Moncalieri was the main family residence of the House of Savoy from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

It was inscribed on the World Heritage List, along with several other royal residences, as bearing testimony to the monumental architecture of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and as a material expression of the prevailing doctrine of absolute monarchy of the time.

The World Heritage List includes 848 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having “outstanding universal value.”

 

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